Source: Direct Reports from China
Date: July 3, 2018
Authorities in the city of Handan, Hebei Province, sent notifications to forty government-controlled Three-Self churches threatening to demolish their buildings, an informed source told Bitter Winter. The crackdown on religious beliefs in China has affected even the Three-Self Churches that belong to the State-approved united Protestant church, communities of which are being occasionally harassed and persecuted by the government.
One of the churches facing demolition is the East Three-Self Church, which in April received a city government notification that their church building was violating the land use laws and was ordered to vacate the premises as soon as possible, otherwise face forcible demolition. This is the second notice of demolition received by the church: in December 2017, the local government sent a notice ordering its demolition also citing land use issues.
These requirements caused strong opposition from local Christians. One of them revealed that the land of the church used to be a residential property of a congregation member who had sold it to the church. In more than ten years since its construction, the church had never received complaints about any land use issues until now. He believes that this is an excuse by the Communist Party government to persecute religious beliefs.
Another member of the congregation said that “No matter what the government does to restrict us, even if they forcibly demolish the church in the future, we will continue to gather and worship God; we will do it in the streets if we have to.”